Panel IV: Examining African Heritage and Blackness in Caribbean and Latin American Popular Culture

Premise: This panel’s presenters examine the different but intertwined concepts of Blackness and African heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean and how they have affected popular culture there. While many of the presentations focus on music and/or Puerto Rico, the conclusions are more widely applicable to other forms of popular culture and to Latin America more broadly.

Panelists and their talks:

  • “500 years of African music and culture in Cangrejos/Santurce, Puerto Rico,” with Marisol Berríos-Miranda, PhD, Visiting Scholar, School of Music, University of Washington. A talk about salsa music, and the way it constitutes an African musical heritage not just for Puerto Rico but all of Latin America.
  •  “Secretos a Voces: Blackness, Class, and the Dominican-Puerto Rican Family,” with Alai Reyes-Santos, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon. This paper will examine cultural production that illustrates how blackness gets mobilized by Puerto Rican communities to both include Dominicans in community formations and exclude from the social imaginary.
  •  “La Bomba Puertorriqueña y sus Transformaciones a través del tiempo,” with Pablo Luis Rivera, PhD, Catedrático Auxiliar de Humanidades, Universidad de Puerto Rico en Carolina, Director, Restauración Cultural. Esta presentación trabajará el desarrollo de la bomba y como sus elementos han sido variando desde sus comienzos hasta llegar al presente para seguir vigente en el siglo 21. This paper will be presented in Spanish.
  • “Placing Expectations on Blackness: Conceptualizing the Music of the African Diaspora,” with Juan Eduardo Wolf, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of Oregon. In this paper, I juxtapose the history of ethnographic music scholarship and the development of the ideas surrounding the African Diaspora. I consider how these have influenced each other in a way affects the political recognition of Afro-descendant communities, drawing examples from my own fieldwork.
  • Chair: Ana Lara, PhD, CLLAS Visiting Scholar.